Classic french brioche. Slightly sweet with a soft biscuit-like center and a crispy crust, it’s unlike any other dough. Of course, it’s also packed with butter and takes serious time to make. But that’s true of anything worth enjoying, isn’t it? Love doesn’t simply come as an end result; within the process of creation itself, there must be love.
Julia Child wisely stressed, “One of the main reasons that pseudo-French cooking falls far below good French cooking is just this matter of elimination of steps, combination of processes, or skimping on ingredients such as butter, cream – and time. “Too much trouble,” “Too expensive,” or “Who will know the difference” are death knells for good food.”
Preach it, Julia.
Magical brioche takes several hours and there’s no getting around it, so let’s just jump in with joyful anticipation.
- 70 ml tepid milk
- 15 g fresh yeast
- 500 g all-purpose flour
- 15 g fine salt
- 6 medium eggs (room temperature)
- 350 g softened butter
- 30 g superfine sugar
- eggwash (1 egg yolk mixed with 1 tsp milk)
Put the milk and yeast into a bowl and stir to dissolve the yeast. Put the flour, salt and eggs into an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook and pour in the yeast mixture. Mix on low to knead for 5 minutes.
Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl and knead for another 10 minutes on medium. The dough should be smooth and elastic.
In a separate bowl, cream the softened butter and sugar together. I also added some springs of dill to mine. You can add other herbs as you like, but keep it mild so it doesn’t overpower the tender, buttery flavor.
Add the butter-sugar mix to the bowl a little at a time as it turns. The dough should become glossy and smooth and come away from the sides easily.
Remove the dough hook and cover the bowl with cling film. Let it rise for about 2 hours or until doubled in size at about 75 degrees. Making a proofer out of your microwave works wonders. Just microwave a small bowl of water for about 4 minutes until it’s nice and steamy, then put your bread in to rise.
After 2 hours in the proofer.
Knock the dough back down by turning it in the bowl. Cover and leave overnight in the fridge (not more than 24 hours).
The classic French brioche form requires a brioche mold, of which I have ONE. It’s a small one, too. The rest of my dough is going to take other forms, but it’s all good.
Whatever mold you’re using, butter it first. Shape your dough to fit and brush lightly with eggwash. Let it rise again. If you’re making small, individual brioche, let them rise for about 30 minutes each. A larger loaf may take 90 minutes to rise. Either way, the dough should just about double in size.
Make some “expansion cuts” in the top of your dough about 1/2″ deep before baking. A good pair of sharp scissors will work better than a knife since the dough is so soft.
Bake immediately at 350 degrees. Larger brioche may take 30 minutes; small rolls may take 10 – 20 minutes. Just keep checking for the shade of golden brown you prefer.
Brioche can be served a thousand ways… with jam, more butter, sliced and toasted, topped with salmon and capers, goat cheese, made into hamburger buns (OMG! That’s good!), or just warm, as is. Most importantly, it should be savored and shared. Enjoy!